Everyone has a town that no matter what, no matter where they end up, they still call home. For me home will always be the dirty little city of Glens Falls New York. Little local businesses, beloved homeless weirdos and drunks..it might not seem like much to outsiders but to Glens Fallsians it’s home. Another thing that most of us Glens Fallsians remember is an odd little television show on our local public access channel (Channel 8), a show made just for us stoner insomniacs. Odd, confusing and oftentimes completely nonsensical this show..was Ravacon..Although most of us will remember it as The Banana Boy Show. I was on the show once by accident when I passed one of the character’s a joint during filming after being asked where to buy an ax to kill raccoons (My answer for those interested was “Home Depot man..they have all your racoon killing needs..toke?”..unfortunately the joint passing was cut but you can still see yours truly in episode 4) The show focused on…well that’s kind of hard to explain..I guess it’d be much better for you just to check it out yourself
Sadly the show was canceled and not many people outside of the Glens Falls area ever got to see it. This is even more depressing considering that The Ravacon Collective, (the fellas who put the show together) were created to showcase the talents of bands, filmmakers, and other indie artists in the upstate NY area..In other words they were a group after our own hearts here at B-is For Best.
In 2014 a discovered a kick ass poster on a kiosk that I simply had to have. It was designed to look like an old school slasher poster and advertised a film called Lake Nowhere with the simple yet effective tagline “You won’t Get Out Alive” it was showing in a local theater and also mentioned that the filmmakers were locals so of course I excitedly planned going to the screening..only one problem..it had already happened. I attempted to reach out to Directors Christopher Phelps and Maxim Van Scoy but never got a response. At the time I didn’t make the connection with the names so I had no idea this was the same guys behind the insanity that is The Ravacon Show. Other things came up and I forgot about the entire thing..that is until the other day when I checked my mail box and what shows up from our good friends at MVD but a copy of the limited edition Blu ray/DVD of the film. Honestly the title didn’t immediately spark my memory (keep in mind I’ve probably watched a thousand films since 2014…so cut me some slack) what didn’t slip my attention was the fact that it came from Brink Vision..that’s right, the same company that brought us the abysmal Sisters Of The Plague..Honestly this wasn’t one I was looking forward to..which made it all the more awesome when I popped this bad boy in.
LAKE NOWHERE is a unique little salute to not only classic 80’s slasher films but specifically classic 80’s slasher films that are found unexpectedly on bootleg VHS tapes that have been taped over(..now that’s a pretty fucking specific sub-genre!) It follows a group of teens who head out to a cabin in the woods to party only to be stalked by a masked mad man..but things aren’t exactly as routine as they might at first appear as the laws of life and death don’t seem to fully apply at Lake Nowhere.
Little details like trailers, tracking issues and even “the original material recorded on the VHS” coming through make this thing really work. One trailer in particular entitled The Harvest man (about a farmer who waters his plants with toxic waste and unleashes a plague of killer plants) seriously needs to be made.
The acting here was decent for what it was. Just like the majority of 80’s slasher films all the characters are throwaways meant to show up, party and then die. This isn’t an insult at all as it’s precisely as it should be..This one is a lot more Ogroff then it is Friday the 13th despite the initial setup.
The gore effects here were pretty well done..although I could have standed more of them. The kills are a bit too quick and uninventive for my taste..but still work.
The cinematography here was the real star, utilizing shots reminiscent of Black Christmas, Halloween and even a little bit of Evil Dead, the Camera truly is a character in this little ditty and cinematography Jennifer Leavitt certainly deserves mention here for taking the job seriously and really making this thing pop. The overlay used to give it the VHS look also works almost flawlessly which is something that’s quite a bit harder to pull off than you might think.
The Killer here wore a wooden mask and rags and reminded me a lot of the crazy woodsman character from the film Don’t Go In The Woods, crossed with Jason Voorhees and a bit of the monster from BloodFreak (Yeah some shots make it look like the mask has a beak..giving it that evil turkey look!) His movements are appropriately slow and menacing and this guy is fucking beastly, lugging around several of the victims at the same time.
The sound design kind of sucked here, quite a few of the scenes with the group it’s very difficult to understand what anyone is saying. I’m not sure if this was done purposely to stick with the whole bootleg VHS feel or not..but even if it was I doubt any of the VHS nuts like myself look back and miss the good old days of bad sound. It wasn’t enough to ruin the film for me..but it was a point of annoyance at times.
There was a lot of unanswered questions at the end of this one..but once again I think the what the fuck ending was intentional as that was also a hallmark of the slasher genre and honestly that works here.
I honestly think this would have worked much better released on an actual VHS tape (although I understand that that would drastically reduce sellability) If they do release it that way I recommend they go all out with the bootleg angle..and make it look like this:
I wasn’t happy about the very short running time and feel another 20 minutes would have greatly improved the pace and made way for some more character development and more of a rewarding wrap up of the story. Once again this wasn’t enough to ruin the movie for me..but I do hope that Ravacon will consider going back, shooting more footage and re-releasing a feature length version of the film that’s a little more..padded.
Overall I give this film one middle finger a quarter of the way extended. Despite having some issues it’s a solid first feature film and I personally can’t wait to see what directors Christopher Phelps and Maxim Van Scoy have in store for us next.
It’s hard to believe in today’s slasher starved Horror world (at least in the mainstream sense) but back in the 80’s there seemed to be at least 20 Slasher movies hitting the big screens every year. Most were forgettable derivative nonsense, some went on to spawn franchises but quite a few sadly slipped through the cracks for most people not due to a lack of quality or fun but because of the simple matter of overpopulation. Alot of this took place from ’84 to ’88 when Nightmare On Elm Street was catching everyone by suprise, Friday the 13th was on their fourth installment and Michael myers was about to make a much anticipated (although uneeded in my opinion) return to The Halloween series. Sadly the newer slashers who didn’t already have a billion kills under their belt or a eye catching killer to grab the audience’s imagination just couldn’t compete. One of the films that fell to this sad fate was Larry Stewart’s 1984 film The Initiation. I’ll be honest I passed by this film countless times at the video store as a kid and never even came close to picking it up off the shelf let alone renting it..Why do you ask? Very simple. The title and cover art led me to believe it was a fuckin supernatural movie,
something along the lines of The Reincarnation Of Isabel or Witchboard. I never would have thought this one was a slasher..and while I do enjoy supernatural Horror it’s far from my favorite genre..perhaps that’s why this thing doesn’t have more of a following then it does..Anyhow, My good friends at MVD shot over a copy of recently released Arrow Video special edition Blu Ray release of the film and I finally got a chance to take a look.
THE INITIATION follows Kelly Fairchild, a young woman in college who is plagued by a disturbing dream in which she sees herself as two separate people, one of whom discovers her mother with another man and another whom stabs said man before her father catches her mother and the other man is burned. Kelly begins seeing a professor who uses experimental equipment to try to discover the route of the nightmares. Meanwhile Hell week is approaching and Kelly’s house mother convinces her to steal the keys to the mall her wealthy father owns so they can have a party there with some boys..too bad the uninvited guest who shows up also happens to be a homicidal maniac.
This was one of those films that I was very unsure about when I began watching it..but i quickly forgot all doubts as I became quickly engrossed in the refreshingly complex, twist filled plot. This film is alot more like the classic Italian Gialo films or the first Friday The 13th then the run of the mill stalk and slash. and WTF ending is a great reminder of what exactly made 80’s slashers so fuckin epic.
The cinematography here was pretty basic, although it did have some pretty great smash cuts during the kill scenes. The night scenes were very gritty and I have to admit I was a tad bit disappointed that there wasn’t more work done with the remastering to correct this. I love VHS but when I’m watching a remastered film on Blu Ray and some scenes look like an over used rental..that’s less nostalgic and more irritating. This was only in a few things and I’m sure I’ll sound like a dick for pointing it out..but This IS a review site at the end of the day and i’d be remiss not to.
The kills here were pretty fun, mostly stabbings but effective and unlike alot of the slashers of the era it doesn’t shy away from throwing around a good ammount of the red stuff us slasher nuts love so much. The gore was believable enough and the special effects artist worked very well with the cinematographer to preserve the effects with creative use of the zoom lens. This might not sound like a big thing but trust me it can be the difference of a half of a centimeter of space that can make or break an effect.
The acting here was what makes this film really work. Literally every actor on the screen shined. In particular the young lady who played Kelly did a wonderful job of portraying a young woman who is simultaneously the average 80’s teen with her slightly sassy yet peppy attitude and also a very troubled person with her habit of apprehensively peering around her when she feels her peers aren’t looking. Such a portrayal of duality is a rare thing in cinema and always has been and it added a nice touch of reality to a story that could easily have been completely ludicrous if handled by a less talented cast and crew.
The special features on this disc included:
- Brand new audio commentary by The Hysteria Continues
- Brand new interview with actor Christopher Bradley
- a brand new interview with writer Charles Pratt, Jr.
- Brand new interview with actress Joy Jones
- Original Theatrical Trailer
In my opinion the interviews were the coolest part. Seeing that the people involved with the film were such down to earth humble people made me enjoy the experience all the more, and for those who’ve seen previous Arrow releases you’ll know that They’ve always got amazing interviews.
I’d like to comment on the packaging as Arrow also always does an excellent job with that but sadly due to production costs Arrow is unable to send offical release copies of their films to reviewers and have to send check discs in plain slimline cases instead.
Overall I give this film and this release no middle fingers up. It’s engaging, unique and criminally underrated. If you don’t already have this film in your collection then this new release is worth the price tag
I love a bargain. Besides the fact that I genuinely love bad cheesy movies, I’ve seen alot of oddball shit because I found it at my local Walmart in the dollar bin or while working FYE and couldn’t pass up such a cheap DVD. Not long ago, while re-sorting our used bins for the one hundred billionth time on a slow day I stumbled upon a film I had never heard of with one of the most hysterically bad covers I have ever seen (and trust me that’s saying something.) It featured a fat guy in an extra s-medium shirt with a tool belt full o weapons wearing a hockey mask, sunglasses and..troll hair (I’m not sure why..maybe the cover art designer was really drunk) and holding an obviously fake dollar store chainsaw from a kids’ Halloween costume. In the background we get some of the most over the top stereotypical black folks ever to live screaming in terror. Quickly flipping this bad boy over I read the synopsis and realized I was holding a blaxploitation horror/comedy. I pulled out my two bucks quicker then Eddie Murphy on 2 dollar transsexual Tuesday and officially became the proud owner of KRACKER JACK’D
When My shift ended I ran home and for shits and giggles I IMDB’d the title. Every review I found was bad. Some complained about the annoying characters, some even went as far as to claim it perpetuated racial stereotypes but all agreed on one thing, this movie was shit. I threw it in the trash and whined about wasting two dollars The End…YEAH FUCKING RIGHT! I was more excited then ever to watch this thing!
KRACKER JACK’D opens with Playa, Bling Bling, Spliff and Carlton, four college homies preparing preparing to throw the best party ever at their new place. While handing out flyers they’re approached by the campus Wigga, Kracker Jack. All Jack wants is an invite so he can get some chocolate strange but when he drops the N-bomb one to many times a thorough ass whopping is delivered. The group leaves him beaten and knocked out and continue setting up for the party. Everything is going to plan with bud, booze and broads for everyone until and uninvited party guest shows up and bodies are soon added to the aforementioned B’s!
I didn’t expect much from this movie and I have to say I was delightfully surprised. It’s ridiculously stupid, yes but I think previous reviewers miss the point here. This is an over the top exhibition of accepted stereotypes exaggerated to a comical degree…IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE STUPID!
The acting here is more hammy then Porky Pig butt fucking Petunia on a pile of pork chops. Kracker Jack himself has to be the most ludicrous with his rolled pant leg, too large sunglasses and need to shout everything he says with an urban accent thicker then Janet Reno’s nut sack. This fella had me in stitches. He’s what would happen if Big B, Everlast and Marky mark got tossed into a blender with Copper Cab and some crunk juice and whatever emerged was smacked in the head with a bat, handed a blunt and told to audition for Jamie Kennedy’s role in Malibu’s Most Wanted! Bling Bling was another favorite of mine with his need to express everything he says with some of the worst rapping since K-Fed and seemingly genuine confusion to the most basic things imaginable.
Playa was actually played rather straight faced, coming across as a mostly normal stand up type dude but his thing for breaking into song? Holy shit, man that cracked me up. Let’s be honest. We all have that one friend who’s going to be the next Usher. You know ,the dude who looks you dead in the eye and tells you his mamma says he sings like an angel, sings something about some random off the head shit in a voice that sounds like Susan Ball getting raped by baboons then says “that there is gonna go platinum!”? Yeah that’s our boy Plays.
The kills here are cheesy and over the top to a cartoonish degree. I mean one dude gets his throat cut while waiting for a chick to come back with a pack of smokes and then spends a a good three minutes going “Oh Lawd! Over a pack of cigarettes! This bitch! Oh Lawd” Then tries to smoke with a cut throat spurting blood when she comes back with the smokes! Another guy smokes a blunt while being chocked and manages to stay alive for an hour just to die at 4:20! This shit isn’t bad movie gold it’s fucking shit diamonds man!
The visual gags a re abundant and hysterical. My favorite is when Playa and a chick he hooks up with at the party are running back to the house from the Jacuzzi to warn everyone that there is a killer on the loose and the run lasts for at least to minutes and Playa is so Ashy from the tub water that he’s literally covered in white powder and is leaving a mile long tail of huge piles of it behind him! Once again, shit diamonds! Toss in a a surprise twist coupled with an ending that’s completely nonsensical and you’ve got yourself one hell of a fun flick!What I liked about this one was, yeah it’s dumb, it’s over the top, it’s sophomoric and crude (there’s even a necrophiliac fellatio resurrection scene..why the fuck aren’t you watching this RIGHT NOW!!!?) but it also has a fair level of innocence about it. It never comes across as mean spirited or harmful. It’s silly in the same way that Race War:The Remake was. You can tell the cast and crew had alot of fun with it and that fun really shines through in this reviewer’s opinion.
I honestly feel like the assholes on IMDB who talked shit about this one saw it just so they could complain. I mean come on ya’ll! You picked up a movie called Kracker Jack’d with a cover like that and expected it not to be stupid? That’s like picking up a copy of Shaving Ryan’s Privates and complaining about the lack of pussy shots! What The Fuck!
Personally I fucking loved this shit and I can’t wait to see more from Chad Hendricks. I give this one 2 middle fingers chopped off and sanded to the bone. If you like bad modern blaxploitation in the spirit of Holla if You Hear Me Kill You, then you’ll love it too.
I love movies. The day I stop loving them is the day I’ll shut this bad bitch down..But I have to say I have to watch alot of….poop. And quite a bit of not even fun poop, just straight up boring incomprehensible dog shit in a hat. So Companies like Wild Eye Releasing, who continuously shoot over fun, endearing and often thought provoking films are a light at the end of a (Sorry to say it) shit caked tunnel It’s not to say Wild Eye never puts out poop It’s that even when they DO put out poop…it’s great poop, it’s golden turds!…but enough perineum tickling, let’s take a look at what hose crazy motherfuckers sent us this time around. We’ll start off with a couple of fun slashers, beginning with an awesome 80’s throwback entitled THE BLOOD SLAUGHTER MASSACRE
THE BLOOD SLAUGHTER MASSACRE Opens at a party where a crazed masked man deftly murders the entire party, The killer is nearly caught by Officer James Fincher but wounds him and escapes seemingly never to be seen again..until ten years later a string of murders begin that strangely resemble those of the missing mad man. Is this a second chance to catch this madman..or is the killer (nicknamed The Ripper) just back to lure him out and finish the job?
When I first received word about this film, I have to be honest, I let out a sigh. “Oh fuck, another self aware slasher homage.” I said to myself..I couldn’t have been more wrong on this one. Everything from the slightly off kilter camera work to the everyone is a red herring approach to character development screamed 80’s. This fucker even had it;’s own kick ass hair metal theme song!
The acting here was actually quite good with Officer Fincher shining brightest,, coming across as a mixture of Doctor Loomis from Halloween, and Officer Norris from Child’s Play. His fierce borderline psychotically obsessive dedication to the case makes him a force even more formidable then he Ripper himself!
But a slasher wouldn’t be complete without a masked maniac, does The Ripper Measure up?
With his slow methodically movements, cold approach to death and dedication to death, the ripper (who dons a creepy old man clown mask) fits in nicely with the many slashers of yesteryear. I could easily see this baddy go up against Nelson from Bloody Murder in a Low Budget battle to the final body count.
The cinematography here appears to be genuine honest to god video. It’s more likely that it’s digital with some really cleaver editing techniques but I honestly couldn’t see anything to give it away. It looks just like the Shot On Shitio VHS releases I loved as a kid.
The gore here was heavy handed and cheesy just like the films it so clearly derives from but unlike alot of these homage films it isn’t played for laughs. Everything is done straight faced which makes an enormous difference and makes this “flaw” work in the film’s favor rather than against it. Alot of the kills are also done off screen which is also true to the source material.
I’d be remiss not o say something about the music here. Used sparingly throughout the film we get alot of great cinematic synth reminiscent of the music from Tim Ritter’s movies and of course we get the above mentioned hair metal theme preformed by none other then 80’s crazed director Bradley Creanzo (Director of The Bible Belt Slasher among many others) Brad, is there anything you can’t do you crazy fuck? I’m waiting for your brand of gummy bears to show up next or something
Overall I give this one two middle fingers chopped off and sanded to the bone. It’s an amazingly on point little slasher that comes across as Blood Cult meets Halloween. If you’re a fan of straight to video slashers YOU NEED THIS FUCKIN’ MOVIE NOW!
The next film we’ll be discussing was one that honestly caught me off guard. I’ve come to associate Wild Eye more with wacky off kilter flicks..Not to say that’s a bad thing at all (I love stuff like that) but this one was..deep..really deep. That film is Shawn Holmes’ MEMORY LANE
MEMORY LANE Introduces Nick Boxer, an orphaned mentally scarred war veteran struggling to adjust to civilian life. Plagued by a war that he never really came home from, Nick feels alone despite a small group of closely nit friends until he meets the strange but exciting Meg. Tragedy trikes and Nick is torn from him too early. When Nick discovers he is able to go back to a time when she was around when his heart stops he enlists he help of his reluctant friends to stop and restart his heart in the hopes of understanding what happened.
Heart breaking, innovative and packing a punch much harder than similar films with 50 times the budget ,Memory Lane is a completely engrossing cautionary tale about the cost of pursuing the unpursuable. It asks us “If You knew you couldn’t save the person you loved the most would you still die trying to do so? It comes across as a brilliantly effective mixture of Flatliners and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind.
The acting here was excellent with each actor obviously giving it their all. Sticking out the most here, though, was Will. Having some friends and family myself that suffer from post war P.T.S.D. I can tell you, his guy is amazing. The shifty eyes, the pale complexion he slight tremor, it’s all here. Even more breathtaking though was the transformation Will takes. First we see an increase in color, a surge of energy and a palatable glimmer of hope in his eyes when he meets Meg. When Meg is taken from him we see his skin become clammy and even paler then before. We see emptiness in his eyes, and it actually appears that he’s lost weight!
The cinematography here was a great example of a cinematographer working with what they have. Though it appears to be low grade digital, the use of colorization o convey mood and the fact that they embrace the shaky camera and make it almost a character in and of itself instead of trying to hide it, made this one pop!
Overall I give this one two middle fingers chopped off and sanded to the bone. This film actually made me cry. With the amount of films I see every week that’s quite an impressive feat! I hope to see more films like this from Wild Eye and I can’t wait to see what Director Shawn Holmes comes up with next!
Be sure to stay tuned for part two of this article as Wild Eye sent us over more kick ass films than we can shake our collective cock at!
Posted on September 14, 2014
It’s sad how many little films come out nowadays and never get seen. Hollywood has managed to monopolize and dominate the Entertainment industry to the point where the average person doesn’t even know what an indie film is, let alone actually see one.
Worse still is this movement has spawned a generation who, if and when they do see an indie film, tends to be completely unforgiving. So called “production value” and shoddy CG effects have come to be considered synonymous with rather a film is enjoyable or not.
In an ironic turn the Slasher Genre (one that was once often dismissed of being mere spectacle) has suffered the most from this turning of the tides in the entertainment industry, even more so in the case of the “so bad it’s good” portion of this sub-genre. Ask the average person if they find enjoyment is films that are “bad” and you’re likely to get a look that is similar to the look you’d get if you whipped out your dick and shot worms out of it while canopy music played.
Thankfully there are still some of us who love these types of films. A cult-like group of people from all walks of life who enjoy the humanity and earnestness of a film that tries so hard to be good and fails…Either that or we just love the humiliation of others. Either way bad films still have a home with us. Films like the one I’ll be discussing today, a fun little shameless rip-off of Friday the 13th entitled AMERICAN SLASHER.
AMERICAN SLASHER introduces a group of teens on their way to the decrepit Camp Greenbrier. Closed for many years due to a string of murders, the camp now has a new owner who has hired the group to clean the place up so it can be reopened (sound familiar?) unfortunately for the group the killer (an insane…gardener? Named Billy Creed) still frequents the grounds, hiding in the woods watching and waiting for a new group of potential victims to send to their demise with his deadly..Hand Rake…?
Like it or not we live in an age where cameras are so affordable and distributors are so plentiful that virtually anyone with enough drive and desire can make and distribute a film. I personally love this fact as it means I can find little gems like this that 10 years ago would have been doomed to be passed from hand to hand amongst friends and never seen by the general public.
While the movie certainly does some very heavy handed borrowing from several well known franchises (the story and setup are almost a dead on re-imagining of Friday the 13th part 1 while the music screams more Halloween and Sleepaway Camp) it has enough originality in it’s characters and killer that it should be seen less as a carbon copy and more of a love letter from the filmmakers to the fellow fans and to the movies they love.
The acting here..was hysterically bad with characters who ranged from manic over energy and borderline robotic performances but it’s the special kind of bad almost like when a mentally disabled four year old hands you a necklace he made out of soggy toilet paper and orange peels..you can’t help but feel endeared to it and you’d be a dick if you hated it.
Our stoner character (who’s name slips my mind) was my favorite here. Chubby and preppy with a snide attitude and a mouth that runs much quicker then his brain does, he added a fair amount of comic relief to the overall movie and he was also the best actor here by far. One thing that can also be said for this film is that the teens on display ACTUALLY COME ACROSS AS TEENS! They aren’t super model sexpots or thirty-something’s, they’re true blue American teens, flawed, often out of shape and very human. This is one area that is done very right even if a lot of other things came across as hysterically wrong.
We also have some bumbling moonshine brewing Hillbillies called the O’royal brothers who’s antics reminded me quite a bit of the three stooges (if a bit more heavy handed and hammy) who also made this thing a lot more fun then it otherwise would have been and gave us some characters to root for. Directors Jeff Morris, Blake Opperman and Alex Powers deserve props for realizing early on that making a serious slasher film on such a low budget (an astonishingly low 500 bucks) and decided to embrace the sure to be cheesy finished product and fortify it with comedy.
Our killer was another point of some major unintentional laughs with his jerky awkward movements (picture a nerd walk with a healthy dose of 50’s style robot and a tiny drop of Jason Voorhees and you’ve got a good idea) teamed with his virtually impossible implement of murder and you’ve got a character that will evoke a lot more laughs then screams..but what’s the harm in that!?
The kills here were the only thing I can really find to complain about, most of them are virtually bloodless and a lot is left to the imagination. Thankfully there’s enough going on for this movie where this isn’t really a deal breaker..but in the future I would recommend these filmmakers hire on someone to pen the kills for them. They aren’t the worst I’ve ever seen and were all done practically which is a good thing..but they needed more originality and variety. I understand that a lot of this has to do with the insane budget constraints but even cheesy bad effects with over the top kills would have worked for this project.
The cinematography here was actually pretty well handled with nicely framed shots, smooth pans and some nice pick up shots of the woods in which the film was made as well as a great use of the natural lighting available. It appears to be shot on HI-8 (although a cheap digital camcorder is more likely) which may be a sour point for some but as someone who grew up in the video boom with films like Cannibal Campout this element just made me love this little flick even more by bringing back some warm memories from my youth.
Overall I give this film1 middle finger a quarter of the way extended. It’s not perfect by any means and it’s not for everyone but to me it fits firmly into the category of so bad it’s good and marks the beginning of the careers of some very promising young filmmakers. If you’re a fan of films like Don’t Go In The Woods, Ogroff, and Scalps then I highly recommend you give this one a shot.
Posted on September 11, 2013
Voodoo is one of those topics the majority of us declare not to believe in but are still uneasy with. A religion cloaked in mystery and legend and tainted by Hollywood nonsense, Voodoo is one of the most widely misunderstood belief systems in the world second to none. The majority of us see voodoo as primitive, a religion of chicken bones and bat blood but what if it wasn’t? What if there was a machine that did all the work for you? A machine that was easy to operate and deadly accurate and what if said machine wound up not in the jungles of some far away place..but on a college campus!
In the 2010 film NEEDLE just such a machine was made in the 18th century, Incarnated as a small geared box with a slot for a picture of your victim and a hole to pour in blood and wax. Once these elements are added the crank is turned and out pops a small wax doll. The doll can then be dealt damage with a hot pin and this damage is reflected upon the chosen victim. Centuries late the machine winds up in the hands of Marcus Rutherferd after his father dies and leaves it to him. But before Marcus can even figure out what it is it’s stolen and soon after his friends begin to die one by one, manifesting wounds that seem to originate from within. Corresponding with the deaths is the return of Marcus’s estranged brother Ben. Is Ben the one behind the deaths and if so, why? Will Marcus discover the truth in time or will he wind up just another victim to the needle?
I have to say this film was one of the mot creative slasher films i have seen in a very long time. Bringing together voodoo magic, classic murder mystery and seamless, very believable practical effect gore that will stick with me for years to come.
The acting was beyond good, with the majority of the actors involved far surpassing anything i think i have ever seen in a slasher. They cam across more like stage actors, with a depth and sincerity I haven’t seen in a film made since the 70’s. Some of them were 2-D cannon fodder but even those characters were played to the best of the actors’ abilities and still managed to seem real enough that we cared about each death. A feat very seldom achieved in the slasher film genre.
The machine itself was creepy and very inventive, bring to mind the lament configuration box from Hellraiser in it’s ominous and downright evil appearance. In fact this prop had so much character it could almost be called a character itself!
The cinematography came across as very 90’s-esque with it’s crisp look and sure handed straight forward approach, and while there wasn’t much innovative or experimental in the camerawork it worked perfectly for it’s purpose and was beautiful to look at.
The story here was what really made this one a winner though, with it’s subplots and possible suspects it came across as a classic 50’s whodunit it with a modern twist, and not a single moment was wasted on filler or needless dialog. Each element had it’s place and fulfilled it perfectly.
I give this film no middle fingers up. It was a winner across the board and I still can’t believe i hadn’t heard of it until now. It’s a film that deserves a much larger following then it has.
Most of us know o at least one serial killer. in today’s day and age they are just as idolized, followed and receive just as much fanfare as the biggest names in sports, movies and other media..But how many of us know actual killers personally? Not many..But what if you did? What if that nerd you made fun of at work took out his anger at you an an innocent person and killed them brutally? What
if you were the final link in a chain of abuse that broke someone to the point where their humanity and morals completely flee from them? What if you created a monster without even knowing it?
US SINNERS follows the tale of Tim Conelly an awkward mama’s boy who in his late twenties still lives with his ultra religious overbearing abusive mother. His coworkers disrespect and mock him constantly, he has no luck with women..But he is good at one thing, you see Tim has a hobby, he kills prostitutes, and does so quite brutally and in a psycho-sexual manner. But one day a young woman comes to work at Tim’s job, things seem to be looking up, but when even that crashes and burns for Tim he goes on killing spree and If Tim was bad before, now he’s a really naughty boy and only one person can stop him.
With it’s raw home made look, graphic disturbing imagery that is sometimes so bizarre it borders on hallucinatory and worst case scenario approach Us Sinners is a truly upsetting thing to watch..However that’s why the film is genius. Every element of the story causes us the viewers to ask ourselves a painful question..Who is the real monster in this situation, the murderer or those who drove him to kill in the first place? It presents the idea that a killer is not simply born evil but becomes so over time by various stages of inhumane treatment coupled with a weak psyche. That while Tim is bad, the world who created him is to blame and is just as bad or in some cases perhaps even worse. The sinners mentioned in the title are not Tim (obviously not considering it’s pluralized) but us, society as a whole who create monsters like Tim through lack of kindness and shunning those different from ourselves.
I must say also that this film had the most shocking and unexpected ending i have seen since the infamous climax scene in Nerkromantik.
I give this film no middle fingers up. It’s shocking, disturbing and at times very gross but it’s a far cry from senseless torture porn like the Hostel series and those that can look deeper into the film will see it for what it is, the tragic tale of one man’s descent from a broken man to a raging beast.
The slasher genre has evolved more then people think since it’s boom in the late 70’s, utilizing new gimmicks, making fun of itself, or taking the Hollywood approach and simply becoming mediocre cookie cutter thriller films that happen to feature a killer. Sometimes it’s nice to get back to the basics and keep things simple, just a group of annoying teens or twenty-somethings in the middle of nowhere with a madman stalking them..That’s exactly what we get with 7-Down.
Seven Down follows (you guessed it) 7 friendson their way to a Haunted Hay ride. After taking a wrong turn the car breaks down and while waiting for AAA to show up The group (who seperate for various reasons) Are stalked and killed my a pittiless killer in a robe with Jack knife..will anyone be left standing?..Let’s just say the title and tagline are very accurate.
7 Down is a barebones slasher, but considering it’s short running time (under an hour) and that this was the first film made by Bootsy Cox Productions, The film does a suprisingly good job establishing story, giving each character a distinctive personality and throwing in a small twist at the end to defrentiate itself from previous additions in it’s genre. It probably won’t win any awards or generate a franchise but all this film really aims to do is keep us intrested and entertained and it certainly succedes at both. It also opened my eyes to the fact that director Tyler L Shmid is capable of much more then simply giving me a chuckle with his short films, and makes me want to see more from him in the future.
The film did have some technical problems with the camera which made the film sometimes appear to be shot on a web cam, which was irritating and it could have benefited from some more creativity and gore with it’s kills and i would have liked to learn more about the killer and why he does what he does but overall this was an enjoyable watch and i would recommend it for a guilty pleasure popcorn and beer movie night with some friends.
I give this film 1 middle finger a quarter of the way extended it’s fun but the technical problems threw me out of it a bit.